Face to Facebook: Insensitive breakup is still effective

Carolyn Magner | June 01, 2010

Face to Face(book)

Online breakup may not be very sensitive, but it works


Dear Carolyn,

I know you are going to give me a hard time about this. I needed to break up with my girlfriend but didn’t have any home time scheduled. Every time I had an opportunity to get a load home, she was out of town. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I broke up with her via Facebook. I changed my status to “single,” and before I could even explain, she heard about it.

I could have written a long email with all the reasons I wanted to end it or called her on the phone and listened to her cry. This way, she can hate me and all her friends can mock me and I can be the poster child for Men Behaving Badly.

The reason I’m writing is so that when she writes to you about it, you’ll already know what a jerk I am.

George


Dear George,

Wow. That’s harsh. I mean, not only do you break up with her on Facebook, you are trying to pre-empt her letter to me!

As much as it pains me, there is a lesson here. Sometimes, a surgical cut can be the kindest. You didn’t just burn your bridges, you detonated the infrastructure.

Certainly, there was a better, more civilized way that could have preserved her self-esteem and left you with an intact reputation. But the end result is that she’s done with you, and there’s no doubt that you mean to be done with her. So, really, if you are OK with it, I’m OK with it.

I’m just say’n.



Dear Carolyn,

I grew up with a bitter, abusive mother and a cold, uncaring father. I’ve spent years trying to overcome my childhood and somehow have managed to carve out an OK life for myself. My brother and sister were not as lucky. Both are hopelessly addicted to drugs and alcohol. I blame our parents for all their troubles. Sometimes I am so filled with rage at them I feel physically sick.

Recently they started trying to reach out to us. My mother asked me to consider visiting next time I am passing through their town. I have not replied because just the thought of it makes me want to run my truck into a brick wall.

What do you think I should say to them?

Jerry


Dear Jerry,

I don’t think you owe them an answer right now. Right now, I think you need to pick up the phone and make an appointment with a therapist or counselor. Ask your family doctor to recommend someone. You have to let go of the anger that is eating you up. You have to figure out how to forgive. Not because they deserve it but because you deserve it. If you can make the courageous choice to forgive them for what they did to you, then you can free yourself of the debilitating anger you carry around.

You also need to forgive yourself for overcoming what your siblings could not. You are carrying around some heavy baggage, and I would like to see you lighten your load.

I’m just say’n.



Dear Carolyn,

I accidentally found my girlfriend’s private online diary on her computer. Turns out she’s been writing about our relationship in great detail. I mean, everything, including our sex life. Most of it is good, but there are a few personal details she’s written that are embarrassing to me. I’m the object of her readers’ scorn, and they leave comments about my looks, intelligence and even my occupation as a truck driver!

I want to confront her, but I have not done it for two reasons. I want to see what she says about me, and I don’t want her to accuse me of snooping.

Do you think it’s fair of her to write about me to total strangers?

Kyle


Dear Kyle,

First of all, you were snooping. I mean, I get that. I would read it, too. But just so we are clear: Do I think it’s fair she’s writing about you? Yes, because women tell other women about their relationships. It’s what we do. We even tell strangers. You are a stranger, and you’re telling me about her. Right? So here’s what you do:

Nothing.

Seriously. Let it go. When she writes about you to her online readers she’s venting or complimenting or maybe even embellishing. If you need to know any of it, you eventually will.

I’m just say’n.


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